Wednesday, 21 March 2018


A few more into the collection last month......

Steph Post - Walk in the Fire (2018) - purchased
I have her earlier two novels, might as well go for the hat-trick!

"Steph Post is a great new discovery. Her stories carry a dark pulse that keeps the perfect beat in a world where people put everything they've got on the line. Walk In The Fire is going to put Steph Post on the map."
- Michael Connelly

Life hasn't gotten any easier for Judah Cannon. He may have survived the fiery showdown between his father, the tyrannical Pentecostal preacher Sister Tulah, and the Scorpions outlaw motorcycle club, but now Judah and Ramey, the love of his life turned partner in crime, are facing new and more dangerous adversaries. It will take all of their cunning and courage, their faith in one another and some unexpected help to give them even a shot of making it out alive.

In attempting to extricate the Cannon family from the crime ring they are known and feared for, Judah finds himself in the sights of Everett Weaver, a cold blooded killer and drug runner in Daytona Beach who shouldn't be underestimated and doesn't take no for an answer. Threatened by Weaver, saddled with guilt from his recovering, but now pill-popping, younger brother Benji and pressured to use his head and do the right thing by Ramey, Judah quickly arrives at a breaking point and things soon begin to go south.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Clive Grant, who has been unwillingly sent down from ATF headquarters in Atlanta, arrives in town to investigate the fire at Sister Tulah's church. Clive, looking to prove himself, becomes obsessed with Tulah and her iron grip on Bradford County and is determined to take her down. His search leads him to Judah's door and soon the Cannons are caught up in an increasingly tangled web of violence, lies and retribution spanning both sides of the law. Backed into a corner, but desperate to protect his family, Judah finds himself walking a dangerous path that might cost him everything or might win him it all, if only he can walk through the fire and come out on the other side.

Eric Beetner (ed.) - Unloaded - copy via Net Galley
I do like short story anthologies and I like Beetner's work and I have plenty of the contributors' books on the shelves.

Nominated for the 2017 Anthony Award for Best Anthology/Collection

***Proceeds from the sales of Unloaded will benefit the nonprofit States United To Prevent Gun Violence (***

For the first time, more than two dozen crime and mystery authors have joined together to use the strongest weapon at their disposal — words — in a call for reasonable gun control in the U.S.A. In this collection you get all the thrills and excitement you come to expect from a great crime story, but without any guns.

From best sellers and writing legends to the brightest stars of the next generation of crime writers, the twenty-five authors here have taken pen in hand to say enough is enough. Gun violence has got to stop and this is our way of speaking out — by showing that gun violence can be removed from the narrative, and maybe from our lives.

It's not anti-gun, it's pro-sanity. And above anything else, these are thrilling crime stories that will surprise and shock, thrill and chill — all without a gun in sight.

The writers are from both sides of the political aisle and many of the authors are gun owners themselves. But everyone felt it was time to speak out. Featuring the talents of J.L. Abramo , Patricia Abbott, Trey R. Barker, Eric Beetner, Alec Cizak, Joe Clifford, Reed Farrel Coleman, Angel Luis Colón, Hilary Davidson, Paul J. Garth, Alison Gaylin, Kent Gowran, Rob Hart, Jeffery Hess, Grant Jerkins, Joe R. Lansdale, S.W. Lauden, Tim O’Mara, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Pitts, Thomas Pluck, Keith Rawson, Kelli Stanley, Ryan Sayles, and Holly West.

Nanci Rathbun - Cash Kills - review copy from author
I'm always bemoaning the fact I don't read enough female authors - I ought to put my money where my mouth is. Maybe April, possibly May for an all-female reading month. 

“The last female P.I. who drew me in like this was Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone.” – bestselling author Sandra Balzo

“Cash Kills is a first-rate mystery that combines police procedural with private detection and it features a compelling lead character and a marvelous cast.” – Readers’ Favorite

Would you pass on an inheritance worth millions?

PI Angelina Bonaparte's new client grew up as a child of Bosnian War refugees who lived like the working poor. She’s shocked to discover they left an inheritance of millions and hires Angie to uncover the sources of the money.

When the family attorney goes missing and his secretary is killed, Angie embarks on a wild investigation that draws in a Mafia lawyer, some Special Ops guys and a Sarajevo survivor, along with her homicide detective lover, Ted Wukowski.

Can Angie find the perpetrators before they get to her client? Because they want the money, and they're not going to wait for the young woman to claim the inheritance.

“To find justice in the midst of lies and cover-ups, Angie must face her own fear of trusting another. Readers will relate to her humor, vulnerability and dedication to the truth.” - 2014 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Silver Honoree for digital ebook excellence

Adam Sternbergh - The Blinds (2017) - purchased copy
Purchased when browsing on a day out in London with my wife - sucked in by a gorgeous cover and an intriguing premise. I've read an earlier book from this guy - Shovel Ready.

For fans of Cormac McCarthy, Jim Thompson, the Coen Brothers, and Lost

Imagine a place populated by criminals - people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who've been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don't know if they've perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. What's clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.

For eight years Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace - but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town's residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her - and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It's simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak, and dark betrayals.

Tony R. Cox - A Fatal Drug (2016) - purchased copy
Seems like my kind of book, purchased when offer at the publisher's website - Fahrenheit Press!

England. 1971.

Reporter Simon Jardine is on the hunt for the story that will kick start his career and when a tortured, mutilated body turns up on his patch he can’t help thinking his luck is finally in.

At first glance the provincial town of Derby is about as far away from the sex, drugs and rock-n-roll of London and California as it’s possible to imagine but as Jardine begins to scratch below the surface he finds that all is not well in England’s green and pleasant land.

Along with fellow reporter Dave Green and local DJ Tom Freeman, Jardine is soon drawn into a spiral of gangland drug dealing and violence that stretches from the north of England to the south of Spain.

Minette Walters - The Cellar (2015) - charity shop purchase
Not an author I've previously read though one I have had her in mind on and off  for a while - bargain purchase from a charity shop. 

Muna's fortunes changed for the better on the day that Mr. and Mrs. Songoli's younger son failed to come home from school. Before then her bedroom was a dark windowless cellar, her activities confined to cooking and cleaning. She'd grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave. She's never been outside, doesn't know how to read or write, and cannot speak English. At least that's what the Songoli's believe. But Muna is far more clever - and her plans more terrifying - than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine...

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


A couple from Andrew Vachss this week.

Vachss was an author I crossed paths with either late 80s or early 90s, I didn't keep reading records back then so who knows.

What I do remember is being blown away by this secretive, under the radar character Burke who with his network brought his own kind of justice to bear on child killers and abusers.

Vachss went on to write about 18 books in the Burke series, but I stopped trying to keep up after around 10 or 11. He's written half a dozen standalone novels and a couple of other shorter three book series - Cross and Aftershock.

In his work life ..... Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for "aggressive-violent" youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. 

I've probably not picked up one of his books in about 10 years, but I'll try and get back to them later this year and see if they are still as compelling second time around.

Strega (1987)

Burke is an ex-con with many ways of earning a buck and his own code of honor: he only does private eye work if the money and the client are right. Strega is an icy, beautiful Mafia princess who offers Burke money and sex to find a piece of kiddie porn. Burke agrees and hits the streets with his bizarre friends to plunge into the nightmarish world of child abuse.

Hard Candy (1989)

Now a paid assassin, Burke is on a collision course with a man named Train, who runs a "safehouse" for kids. But when Burke learns that his suspicions about Train are right (the safehouse keeps kids in harm's way), he becomes his own gun-for-hire.

Monday, 19 March 2018


Another half dozen or so films in the month, with one trip to the Cinema and a show in London's West End! Go me - Mr Culture-Lover!

John Wick Chapter 2 (2017)
I watched the first one a month or two ago and was just as entertained second time around. Nothing too cerebral, just plenty of action and thrills and an insanely high body count. Suspension of disbelief required and you'll have a good time with this! I quite like Keanu Reeves, though haven't seen that much of him in his post-Matrix days.

From Google....

Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows up on his doorstep with a gold marker, compelling him to repay past favors. Ordered by Winston, kingpin of secret assassin society The Continental, to respect the organization's ancient code, Wick reluctantly accepts the assignment to travel to Rome to take out D'Antonio's sister, the ruthless capo atop the Italian Camorra crime syndicate.

Prisoners (2013)
A very good film, very dark, with a difficult story line addressing how far you would go to try and save your family. Superb cast with Hugh Jackman, Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal - all of whom are all pretty amazing.

From Google....

Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) faces a parent's worst nightmare when his 6-year-old daughter, Anna, and her friend go missing. The only lead is an old motorhome that had been parked on their street. The head of the investigation, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), arrests the driver (Paul Dano), but a lack of evidence forces Loki to release his only suspect. Dover, knowing that his daughter's life is at stake, decides that he has no choice but to take matters into his own hands.

Norfolk (2015)
Recorded when it aired recently and watched last month. Fair to say this one split opinion in our household. An hour and a half of my wife's time she'll never get back.; whereas I kind of liked it. Not the best film ever and not one I'm going to rush to watch again anytime soon, but it was a bit different. The "father and son" actors were both pretty good. Pretty sure I've seen the dad in lots else, but I can't remember what.

From the film's website...

A father and son live a reclusive lifestyle in the middle of nowhere. The man, a disillusioned mercenary, has his final target in sight – a gang of foreign revolutionaries who lay low in a nearby derelict compound. As the man closes in on his target the boy falls for the revolutionaries’ serving girl.
Having spent his whole life in isolation the boy now discovers the warmth of friendship and the pleasures of something more. As father and son collide the boy is sent running, running in pain and full of betrayal, straight into the twisted embittered arms of the boy’s maternal grandparents, who have come to snatch and save the boy. Figuring out what is right and wrong, what is good and bad is a task for both the man and the audience.
Written & Directed by: Martin Radich

The Shape of Water (2017) 
My sole cinema trip in the month and a good one. A bit different and I suppose I can see why it's garnered about a gazillion award nominations. I liked the main actress, though I can't recall seeing her elsewhere. I do like Michael Shannon (the baddie) and always have done since Kangaroo Jack years ago. He was pretty amazing in The Iceman.

From Google..

Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab's classified secret -- a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.

The Resident |(2011)
There's some pretty harsh reviews for this one on-line, but I enjoyed it. It might have been a little predictable but in spite of that, it captured my attention for however long it was. Hilary Swank is very good. Maybe not quite as amazing as she was in Million Dollar Baby.

From Wikipedia....

The Resident is a 2011 British thriller film directed by Antti Jokinen and starring Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Swank stars as a recently single woman who rents an apartment in New York City and comes to suspect that someone is stalking her. The film also features a cameo from Hammer Films star Christopher Lee, in his first collaboration with the studio since 1976's To the Devil a Daughter and his last before his death in 2015.

Apocalypse Now (1979)
A second maybe third viewing here. I love Martin Sheen and i do like film's with a Vietnam War theme. If I had a complaint - it's a bit long this one, so I probably zoned out at a few points when watching. I'll probably be up for another watch in another 10 year's time.

From Google....

In Vietnam in 1970, Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) takes a perilous and increasingly hallucinatory journey upriver to find and terminate Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a once-promising officer who has reportedly gone completely mad. In the company of a Navy patrol boat filled with street-smart kids, a surfing-obsessed Air Cavalry officer (Robert Duvall), and a crazed freelance photographer (Dennis Hopper), Willard travels further and further into the heart of darkness.

London's West End (2018)
A bit of an outing for me and the better half. A bit of shopping, a nice meal, a show and a hotel for the night. Followed by a trip to Portobello Road Market, an afternoon spent in a pub with the wife and son off Oxford Street, a bit more shopping and a train home.

I did enjoy this - a lot, but could have quite easily passed on the operatic-style singing at points in the production. I was far fonder of the duets and the Gilbert and Sullivan style riffs between the theatre owners. Churlish to be picky - but opera isn't my bag. Subtitles running in the background would have helped. Not that it marred an amazing night - which followed a pretty good day and preceded another one.

Sunday, 18 March 2018



What best defines a man. His profession? Or his passion?

Keller's profession is murder for hire. He kills strangers for money.

His passion is philately, which is to say that he's a stamp collector.

Once he'd planned to retire from his profession. But how would he fill his time? He wound up returning to his boyhood hobby of stamp collecting, and it promptly ate up much of his retirement fund.

These things happen...

So when a man in Detroit hires him to dispatch another Detroiter, Keller's up for it. Only problem is it has to be done right away, and Keller's got plans for the weekend. He's flying out to San Francisco to attend a philatelic convention and take in an important stamp auction. (Well, important to Keller, if not to you or me.) How can he be in San Francisco and Detroit at the same time?

Turns out he doesn't need to. Because the target will be making the same trip. His name is Sheridan Bingham, and he's a prominent philatelist specializing in issues of the German States, and he'll be in San Francisco, exhibiting some of his stamps at the convention, and bidding in the very same auction as Keller.

But what happens when Keller meets him and finds him a kindred spirit? What happens when he gets to know the man?

Besides being a collector and a killer, Keller is an unqualified Guilty Pleasure for an ever-increasing number of readers. "I don't think I ought to like Keller," readers tell me. "But I can't help myself..."

Quotidian Keller is an extended episode in the third Keller novel, Hit Parade.

The last of the 10 single episode releases from Lawrence Block with Hitman Keller – and I’m kind of glad. Not because I’m tired of reading about him, just because I’ve exhausted my supply of superlatives. Deja-review – deja-vous.

I’ll take Block’s word for it, it’s harder to kill a man once you’ve got to know him.  Lots to like again – an hour or so in the company of a stamp collecting, amiable soul and friendly fellow. One who just happens to be very good at killing, though as usual a bit of lateral thinking is required to ease the passage of our victim into the next life.

Top banana author – top banana tale. Try him for yourself and see.

One minor quibble, I had no idea what QUOTIDIAN means. Block showing off or me an ignoramus?

kwɒˈtɪdɪən,kwəʊˈtɪdɪən/ adjective
1. of or occurring every day; daily.
"the car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic"
denoting the malignant form of malaria.

4.5 from 5

Read in February, 2018
Published – 2007
Page count – 41
Source – Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle

Saturday, 17 March 2018



Fyfe was in a good mood. The world was a pleasant place. In the inside pocket of his suit jacket was his resignation letter, carefully phrased around mysterious and unspecified personal reasons. That would get them wondering… The letter was kept in an unsealed envelope so that when the moment came he could write in the date and slap it down. The moment had to be right. Meanwhile, he was enjoying his life as it was and the envelope was getting ragged around the edges. 

Edinburgh’s Detective Chief Inspector David Fyfe is a middle-aged police detective with a fondness for the easy way out… So, when the opportunity arises to escape Edinburgh’s usual urban confusion for a murder-suicide in a sleepy village in the Scottish Highlands, he can’t resist.

Fyfe discovers that the case he’ll be overseeing is being led by a young female detective inspector and he promises to give her—er, the case—his full attention. Unfortunately, peppered with false leads and a growing number of murder victims, the investigation gets more dangerous by the hour, forcing DCI Fyfe and DI McBain to put business before pleasure.

Sleeping Pretty is the second book in the DCI David Fyfe series. Full of suspense, this is a fast-moving, wryly humorous and expertly plotted detective novel.

‘Fyfe's engrossing ruminations on the human condition [means] readers will find themselves absorbed from beginning to end’ – Booklist

I often judge how much I’ve enjoyed a book, by asking myself whether I would want to read more from the author and in the case of a series, more about a character. In regards to William Paul and his DCI Fyfe the answer is yes. And not only because it’s a short three book series and I already have the third book on the pile. (Just cos I own it, doesn’t mean I’ll read it!)

Here we have an interesting double murder – a lady in the lake – strangled and body dumped scenario and a suicide to boot, only it’s a murder designed to like suicide. Fyfe, our randy DCI is sent to the scene to oversee the inexperienced female detective leading the case. If the opportunity arises and she’s up for it, he won’t just consult on the case, he is gonna show her his truncheon – metaphorically speaking.  

Elements of slapstick and humour – Fyfe gets a few bruises during the solving of the case. Hit with a chair by a suspect in an interview, kicked in the head and knocked out in a misunderstanding with one of his wife’s students and given a nosebleed accidentally by his female colleague, plus corpse number one disappears into the drink, when the boat transporting it gets rammed during a Keystone Cops style water chase.

Plenty going on with a fair few suspects. Elements of spiritualism and psychic powers and future portents of doom, along with some undertaking and embalming, a bit of journalism, lots of infidelity including some same sex shenanigans (must be the Highland air or something in the water), and  a resolution which made sense but which I hadn’t guessed. To be honest. I didn’t really try and figure out who did the deed, I just sat back and enjoyed getting there.

Under 220 pages and lots packed into it.

4 from 5

The first in the series was recently enjoyed – Sleeping Dogs. Sleeping Partner awaits.

Read in February, 2018
Published - 1995 (reissued 2017 by Endeavour Press)
Page count - 217
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle

Friday, 16 March 2018



Keller, an introspective fellow, was always your basic Urban Lonely Guy. He collects stamps. He used to have a dog, until the dog walker walked off with him. Then he soldiered on alone.
It's his profession that sets him apart. He's a hit man. He kills strangers for a living.

And he's a Guilty Pleasure for an ever-increasing number of readers. "I don't think I ought to like Keller," readers tell me. "But I can't help myself..."

In the fourth Keller novel, HIT AND RUN, Keller's whole life in New York came to an abrupt end; by the time he'd sorted things out, he was married and living in New Orleans, with a kid on the way. And now, for the first time since the substance hit the fan, he's back in New York—once his home, and now the most dangerous place on the planet for him. And his job is impossible. He has to break into a monastery in the middle of Murray Hill and kill the abbott.

Lots of luck, Keller...

This edition of KELLER'S HOMECOMING (which was incorporated into the book Hit Me) includes as a bonus the opening sequence of another Keller adventure, KELLER'S DESIGNATED HITTER.

BOOM! Block nails it again.   

Keller’s back on New York soil and constantly looking over his shoulder. Events in a cliff-hanger episode previously enjoyed, but as yet unexplored in the full-length Keller novel – Hit and Run saw New York too hot to handle for our loveable assassin. His contract is to dispose of a man of the cloth, one who is tightly cocooned in a monastery.  

There’s a few thrills along the way as Keller chances revisiting an old haunt, where the staff remember him, seating him at the same table and serving up his usual meal – slightly worrying as he already feels as if he is walking around with a big target on his back. We walk by our old apartment and visit a stamp auction, getting a bit of an education on long-expired states and countries. Who would have thought philately could be so interesting?

We have a touch of the absurd where Keller wrangles a meeting in a sauna with our target. Instant strangulation and a hasty escape clad in just a towel isn’t feasible. Again our man, eventually solves a difficult conundrum.

I think Lawrence Block could entertain me with his shopping list.

4.5 from 5

Read in February, 2018
Published – 2011
Page count – 70
Source – Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle

Thursday, 15 March 2018


Margot Kinberg, author of Past Tense (on the blog yesterday) has a new novel out today - Downfall.

Downfall is available from AMAZON  - UK  - US  -  CANADA 

Margot was kind enough to submit to a bit of gentle questioning from me.....

Is the writing full time? If not, what’s the day job? Can you give us a quick biography of yourself?

The writing’s not full time (although I hope someday it will be). By day, I’m a hardworking nerd egghead Associate Professor at my university. I’ve been in higher education for most of my career and taught at large and small schools in three different parts of the US. Does that sound too much like a job application?  By night, though, I’m a writing ninja.

What’s your typical writing schedule?

Well, I fibbed a bit. I usually don’t write at night unless I get a real brainstorm. I’m more of a morning person, so I write early in the morning. I’m the one with the home office light on long before the first joggers and dog-walkers get going. I don’t always have a set number of minutes or hours that I write, because that depends on my ‘day job’ obligations for the day. But I generally try to get in an hour or two of writing during a working day. When I’m not teaching, it’s much more.

When you have an idea and you sit down to construct your story – do you know what the end result is roughly going to look like? Are you a plotter, or do you make it up as you go along?

I’m more of a plotter. Since I write crime fiction, my stories generally have at least one victim. I start with that, and then work out who that person was and why anyone would want that person dead. The story then builds from there.

That’s not to say, though, that I don’t add things in as I go along. More than once, I’ve found myself adding in characters or events as the story evolved. I think that’s the way real life is: you start with a plan for your life, or the next few months or years of it, and things happen as you go along.

Are there any subjects off limits?

That’s an interesting question. My first thought is that it’s not so much a matter of subject as it is the way the topic is handled. For instance, an author can write about rape or domestic abuse without it becoming ‘torture porn.’

That said, though, I don’t write stories in which animals are killed or brutally treated. And I don’t write stories in which young children are treated brutally. I know that there are authors who can write effectively about those topics. I’m not one of them.
I’ve recently finished your third Joel Williams book – Past Tense (very enjoyable by the way) and I understand you have the fourth due shortly – Downfall – can you pimp Downfall to me in 50 words or less?

Thanks for the kind words – so glad you enjoyed Past Tense.  In Downfall, Joel Williams and two research colleagues do a study of Second Chance, a for-profit alternative school program in Philadelphia. In the process, they uncover some ugly things, including the death of one of Second Chance’s students. Just how far will someone go to cover up the truth?

How long did Downfall take from the seed of your imagination to this point in time?  Was it a smooth process or were there many bumps in the road along the way? Did it turn out how you imagined?

Downfall actually has a bit of a weird history. I wrote the first draft of it about five years ago.  But that draft was all wrong and had a lot of problems with it. So, it languished in the ‘I’ll get back to it’ file for quite some time. In the meantime, I wrote Past Tense. Last year, I got the draft of Downfall out again, shook the dust off, and re-wrote it. So, although it’s the fourth published Joel Williams novel, it’s actually the third one I wrote. It’s a bit like the Beatles’ Let it Be and Abbey Road. It didn’t turn out the way I first envisioned it, but that’s for the better.

Without any spoilers, is that Joel’s adventures done and dusted or is there more in store for him and your readers in the future? Any writing plans for a non-Williams book?

I’m not quite done with Joel Williams – or, should I say, he’s not quite done with me. I have ideas for a couple of Williams novels. They’re just in the ‘what if” stage, so nothing really planned out and written yet. But I’m thinking...

As for other writing, I’ve two novels in the works at the present. Both are (at least at the moment) standalones. One features a character from B-Very Flat and follows her story. The other is completely different, with no connection to the Joel Williams series.

You have four Joel Williams' books now to your name. Is there one of your books you are more proud of than the others? Which would you press into the hands of a new reader?

Hmm...that’s an interesting question. It’s a bit like being asked which of your children you love most. I’d say either Past Tense or Downfall (although I am proud of the other two). The reason is that I think I’ve learned a few things as I’ve worked on the series. I think the more recent novels are richer – at least I hope they are! It wouldn’t say much for me if I didn’t get any better at writing over time.

What’s been the most satisfying moment of your writing career so far? 

I’d have to say it was when I read a really positive, supportive review of B-Very Flat from someone who had no reason (not a family member, etc..) to be nice about the book. What was especially meaningful about that was that the review made it clear that I’d made a sort of connection with that reader. It sounds sappy, I know, but I really do like connecting with and communicating with readers. I love it when people who read my work ‘get’ the points I’m trying to make.

With regards to your earlier work – one title remains elusive – Publish or Perish, what’s the story with this one? I understand B-Very Flat is readily available.

It is, and so is Past Tense. The story is all about the world of publishing. To make a long, frustrating story short, I was somewhat naïve when I started trying to get my writing out there. So, I agreed to work with publishers who, as it turned out, did not have my interests as any kind of priority. After a long time, no promo or other help from those publishers, and constant reminders that I would only get support if I paid extra – a lot extra – for it, I decided to get my rights back. I was successful with B-Very Flat. It hasn’t happened yet with Publish or Perish. I’m hoping that will change.

Any unpublished gems in your bottom drawer?

I’d hardly call them gems! I’m working slowly on a short story collection. Some are originals, and some are expansions of some of the flash fiction stuff I’ve put up on my blog. I don’t know when the project will see the light of day. I do know it’s very good for my writing skills to do the short story format. I like stretching those writing muscles.

What’s the current project in progress?

I’m working on two novels at the moment, both (for now) standalones. One continues the story of Patricia Stanley, one of the characters from B-Very Flat. I’m picking up with her life a few years after the events of B-Very Flat. The other is unrelated at all to the Joel Williams novels. It’s an expansion of a flash fiction story I wrote. The characters wouldn’t leave me alone, so I’m working on that one, too. We’ll see how each goes.

What’s the best thing about writing?

The best thing about writing is getting to tell the stories that I have inside. They don’t really give me peace unless I do. I love sharing those stories. That’s what makes writing a joy.  Besides, how many people do you know who get paid for making stuff up – and aren’t later indicted for it? Plus, there is no dress code for writing.

The worst? 

Writing takes a toll, both physical and mental. It takes a lot of physical discipline to keep writing, even when you simply don’t want to that day. But the fact is, you don’t get it done unless you sit your hind end in that chair and do it. It also takes a lot of mental discipline to focus on getting better and keeping your optimism. That’s especially true when there’s a negative review, or when you notice a stupid mistake you’ve made, or.... or... But you have to let it go and keep writing.

What are the last five books you’ve read?

Not to play coy, but a few of the books I’ve been reading are candidates for this year’s Ngaio Marsh Award For Best Crime Novel. So I’m waiting until the lists are announced to talk about them. But I’ve also been reading other things. For instance, there’s Erin Moore’s That’s Not English, a really interesting discussion of the way the same language is used so differently in the UK and the US. It’s all bound up in history and culture, and I find that fascinating. And there’s Paddy Richardson’s Through the Lonesome Dark. Admittedly, I read that one a few months ago, but can’t resist the chance to plug it. It’s a powerful historical novel that takes place just before and during World War I.  Oh, and folks, if you haven’t read Sarah Ward’s D.C. Connie Childs novels, please do so. You won’t regret it.

Who do you read and enjoy?

Honestly, I don’t have just one, or even a few, particular authors to list. My main reading focus is crime fiction, but that’s such a broad genre that it’s impossible to choose just a few authors. I will say, though, that I’m (not so patiently) waiting for Angela Savage to give us a new Jayne Keeney novel (a-hem, Dr. Savage!). I’m also trying to catch up with Mark Douglas-Home’s work, among a few other authors I’ve discovered in the past few years. The trouble is, there are so many talented authors out there, that it’s very hard to focus on just one or a few.

Is there any one book you wish you had written?

I admire a lot of authors and their books, so this isn’t an easy question to answer. Let me approach it this way.  I wish I had half the talent of the authors I admire most. And there’s a list of them.  I’d love to be able to write even a quarter as well as they do. I know, not a real answer to your question, is it? But it’s my honest response.
Favourite activity when not working or writing?

 I love music. And I’m fairly eclectic in my tastes. So, a ‘music break’ is always welcome. I used to play, myself, but I haven’t done that in a while. Still, I love listening, singing, going to a once-in-a-while concert, and so on.

What’s the last film you watched that rocked you?

Hmm....most recently it was was Joe Wright’s The Darkest Hour. I thought Gary Oldman did a fine job as Churchill, and the rest of the cast were up to their roles, too. It’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

TV addict or not? What’s the must watch show in the Kinberg household?

I’m not an addict, really. I do watch TV, and have been catching up (thank you, Netflix) on a few series like Peaky Blinders and Hinterland/Y Gwyll that I enjoy. But I wouldn’t honestly say there’s ‘must watch’ TV around here. Oh, wait, there was that Super Bowl mania last month. But the Philadelphia Eagles were in the game (and won). So there really was no choice...

In a couple of years’ time…

...I would love to have my Joel Williams series really established and be working on my next series. I don’t know how well that will go, but I would love to be able to write full time.

Thanks, Col, for hosting me!

Many thanks to Margot for her time.

You can catch up with Margot Kinberg at the following haunts.

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